The Birth of Lynnhaven Mall
Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a testament to the city’s growth and retail evolution. Its inception dates back to August 1981, when shopping malls were becoming the epicenter of consumer culture in America.
Developed by Melvin Simon & Associates, a renowned name in the retail real estate sector, Lynnhaven Mall was more than just a shopping center; it symbolized modernity and a hub for community gatherings.
From its opening, Lynnhaven Mall distinguished itself by its impressive size and diverse range of stores. Spanning an amazing 1,170,000 square feet, it swiftly became the largest mall in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area and ranked among the most expansive on the East Coast.
This wide space was home to over 180 stores and services catering to various tastes and needs. The mall’s initial anchor tenants included national chains like JCPenney and Montgomery Ward, alongside regional favorites such as Rices Nachmans, Thalhimers, Miller & Rhoads, and Leggett.
These anchors were more than just stores; they were the pillars that supported the mall’s reputation as a comprehensive shopping destination.
As the years progressed, Lynnhaven Mall saw several changes in its anchor stores, reflecting the dynamic nature of the retail industry. The first significant change occurred in 1984 when Rices Nachmans transitioned to Hess’s, marking the mall’s adaptability to changing market trends.
This was followed by the closure of Miller & Rhoads in 1990, a move that paved the way for Hecht’s to take its place. The mall’s ability to attract and retain high-profile tenants showcased its significance in the region’s retail landscape.
In addition to its impressive array of stores, Lynnhaven Mall has become known for its architectural design. The mall featured a predominantly single-floor layout, except for two floors in anchor stores like JCPenney, Dillard’s, and Macy’s. This design facilitated easy navigation for shoppers and contributed to the mall’s aesthetic appeal.
Throughout its history, Lynnhaven Mall has remained a focal point for things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Its evolution from a regional shopping center to a super-regional mall mirrors the growth and development of Virginia Beach itself.
As a hub for shopping, entertainment, and social interaction, Lynnhaven Mall continues to play a vital role in the fabric of the community, adapting and thriving in the ever-changing world of retail.
History of Lynnhaven Mall
Lynnhaven Mall’s journey began with its development by Melvin Simon & Associates, a company renowned for shaping America’s retail landscape. The vision was to create a shopping haven that would serve the immediate needs of Virginia Beach residents and attract visitors from the broader Hampton Roads area.
The mall’s groundbreaking in the late 1970s marked the beginning of this ambitious project, with a clear focus on creating a diverse and dynamic retail environment.
Over the years, Lynnhaven Mall has experienced several key milestones that have contributed to its status as a premier shopping destination. In 1984, the mall underwent its first major tenant change when Rices Nachmans was replaced by Hess’s.
This change led to further evolution in the mall’s retail mix. The 1990s saw significant transformations with the closure of Miller & Rhoads and its subsequent conversion to Hecht’s, a move that modernized the mall’s offerings. The departure of Hess’s in 1991 led to Limited Brands taking over the space, diversifying the mall’s retail portfolio.
The anchor stores at Lynnhaven Mall have seen considerable changes, mirroring the retail industry’s fluctuations. The transition of Leggett to Belk in 1997, and then to Dillard’s a year later, was a significant development, showcasing the mall’s adaptability.
The introduction of Lord & Taylor in 1999 further elevated the mall’s status. The early 2000s were marked by the closure of Montgomery Ward and the arrival of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble, and Steve & Barry’s, broadening the mall’s appeal.
In 2003, Simon Property Group handed over the mall’s ownership to General Growth Properties, a Chicago, Illinois-based company now known as Brookfield Properties, in a deal valued at $256 million. The transformation of Hecht’s to Macy’s in 2006 was another pivotal moment, aligning Lynnhaven Mall with national retail trends.
The Architectural Design and Layout
Lynnhaven Mall’s architectural design has been a key factor in its appeal. The mall’s layout, predominantly on a single floor, offers easy navigation and an open, welcoming atmosphere.
This design choice, unusual for a mall of size, has made Lynnhaven Mall a preferred destination for shoppers of all ages. The two-floor structure in anchor stores like JCPenney, Dillard’s, and Macy’s adds a dimension of variety, catering to a wide range of shopping preferences.
In late 2013, Lynnhaven Mall bid farewell its iconic carousel, a beloved fixture at the main entrance for 17 years. This marked the beginning of a significant transformation. Announced in January 2014, the renovation expanded the mall by 29,000 square feet.
This expansion included the addition of a new ground-level food court and an open atrium, enhancing the mall’s appeal and functionality. The grand opening of the new food court on October 27, 2014, coincided with the closure of the remaining mezzanine, signaling a new era in the mall’s history.
The impact of these renovations on Lynnhaven Mall’s aesthetics and functionality cannot be overstated. The modernized design has improved the shopping experience and ensured the mall remains competitive in the retail market.
The blend of traditional and contemporary architectural elements has created a unique shopping environment that resonated with long-time patrons and new visitors.
Anchor Stores: The Pillars of Lynnhaven Mall
JCPenney: A Founding Anchor
JCPenney has been a cornerstone of Lynnhaven Mall since its opening in 1981. As one of the original anchor tenants, it has consistently offered a wide range of merchandise, catering to the diverse needs of shoppers. Over the years, JCPenney has adapted to changing retail trends, ensuring its continued relevance and appeal to customers.
Dillard’s: A Story of Growth and Expansion
Dillard’s replaced Leggett in 1998 and has been a key player in the mall’s retail mix. The store, known for its wide selection of clothing and home goods, occupies a significant footprint in the mall. Dillard’s acquisition of the former Thalhimers space expanded its presence, making it a go-to destination for fashion and lifestyle products.
Macy’s: Adapting to Changing Times
Macy’s arrival in 2006, transitioning from Hecht’s, marked a new era for Lynnhaven Mall. This change brought a fresh assortment of fashion, beauty, and home products. Macy’s has been instrumental in attracting a broad customer base thanks to its reputation as a one-stop shop for quality and style.
Dick’s Sporting Goods: Diversifying the Mall’s Offerings
The introduction of Dick’s Sporting Goods in the early 2000s diversified the mall’s offerings. Catering to sports enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, Dick’s Sporting Goods filled a niche in the mall’s retail landscape, offering sporting goods, apparel, and equipment.
Dave & Buster’s: Entertainment And Dining Combined
Dave & Buster’s opened in 2013 and has become a popular entertainment destination within the mall. Combining dining, arcade games, and sports viewing, it offers a unique experience that complements the traditional retail offerings of the mall.
Get Air: A Unique Attraction
Get Air, an indoor trampoline park, adds an unconventional but exciting element to Lynnhaven Mall. It attracts families and young visitors, providing a fun and active alternative to traditional shopping.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers: A Haven for Book Lovers
Barnes & Noble Booksellers has been a staple in the mall, offering a vast selection of books, magazines, and educational materials. Its presence caters to the community’s literary enthusiasts and provides a quiet retreat for shoppers.
AMC Theatres: Cinematic Experience
AMC Theatres anchors the mall’s entertainment offerings with its 18-screen complex. It draws moviegoers from across the region, enhancing the mall’s status as a comprehensive entertainment hub.
A Tapestry of Retail Delights at Lynnhaven Mall
Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, VA, offers a rich tapestry of retail experiences far beyond the usual. Each store is a unique thread in the mall’s vibrant fabric, catering to various tastes and interests.
From the latest in fashion at stores like American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie, and Aeropostale to the innovative tech offerings at Apple and AT&T, the mall is a treasure trove for the modern shopper.
Adele Diamond and Kay Jewelers provide exquisite jewelry options for those seeking elegance. Adventure enthusiasts can find their gear at All Star Sports, while those looking to express their style can explore the unique collections at Altar’d State and Buckle.
The mall also caters to the younger crowd with fun and interactive stores like Build-A-Bear Workshop and the colorful Kawaii Corner.
Beauty and wellness are included, with Bath & Body Works, Beautiful Brows, and Alchemist Nails offering various services and products. For the trendsetters, stores like H&M, Forever 21, and Hollister Co. offer the latest in fashion.
Tech-savvy visitors will appreciate the cutting-edge products at stores like Mobile Care and the immersive experience at 3D Innovations.
Lynnhaven Mall is more than just a shopping destination; it’s a place where diverse interests converge, creating a dynamic and engaging environment.
Whether updating your wardrobe, looking for the perfect gift, or enjoying a day out, the mall’s stores ensure a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Dining Delights: A Culinary Journey Through Lynnhaven Mall
Lynnhaven Mall is not just a paradise for shoppers but also a haven for food lovers. The mall has many dining options, from quick snacks to full-course meals.
This culinary diversity caters to all tastes and preferences, making the mall a popular destination for casual diners and food enthusiasts.
From fast-food joints to sit-down restaurants, the food court and various eateries throughout the mall offer many choices, ensuring every visitor finds something to satisfy their palate.
Certain eateries stand out for their popularity and unique offerings among the many dining options. With its mouth-watering pretzels, Auntie Anne’s offers a perfect snack for those on a shopping spree. Carrabba’s Italian Grill brings a taste of Italy to Virginia Beach, serving a variety of Italian favorites that include pasta, seafood, and grilled dishes.
Chick-fil-A is the go-to spot for those craving classic American fast food, famous for its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. These eateries, among others, provide delicious food and contribute to the mall’s vibrant and inviting atmosphere.
The wide array of culinary choices at Lynnhaven Mall significantly enriches the overall shopping journey. They offer a delightful break for shoppers to recharge and relax.
Whether grabbing a quick bite between store visits or enjoying a leisurely meal after a day of shopping, the availability of various dining choices adds to the convenience and enjoyment of the mall experience.
This integration of dining and shopping ensures that visitors can spend more time at the mall, making it a comprehensive destination for shopping and dining. The culinary journey at Lynnhaven Mall is integral to its appeal, making it a complete lifestyle destination.
Lynnhaven Mall: Thriving Amidst Retail Evolution
In 2023, Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, VA, stood as a beacon of resilience and adaptability in the rapidly changing retail landscape. Despite the challenges faced by shopping malls nationwide, Lynnhaven Mall continued to thrive, demonstrating its enduring appeal and relevance.
A Hub of Activity and Growth
Throughout 2023, Lynnhaven Mall maintained a near 100% occupancy rate, a testament to its robust health in the retail sector. The mall housed over 150 retailers and restaurants, continuing to attract a steady stream of shoppers.
Its strong anchor stores, including JCPenney, Macy’s, and Dillard’s, along with junior anchors like Barnes & Noble, Dave & Buster’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Get Air Trampoline Park, and an AMC movie theater, played a crucial role in drawing visitors.
This diverse mix of retail, entertainment, and dining options ensured that Lynnhaven Mall remained a popular destination for many consumers.
Adapting to Post-Pandemic Trends
The post-pandemic period saw a significant shift in consumer behavior, with a renewed interest in in-person shopping experiences. Lynnhaven Mall capitalized on this trend, witnessing a remarkable return to pre-pandemic levels of foot traffic and even surpassing them.
The mall’s management remained active in leasing and retailer consolidation, positioning the mall to capitalize on the evolving retail dynamics. The mall’s success during this period highlighted the community’s support and the strength of its retail offerings.
Community Engagement and Future Outlook
Lynnhaven Mall remained a vital center for the community, organizing numerous signature events, including The Mayflower Marathon, The Art of Being a Military Child, Canstruction food drives, blood donation drives, and seasonal Easter Bunny and Santa Claus visits.
These events and the mall’s diverse retail and entertainment options underscored its role as a central gathering place in Virginia Beach. Looking ahead, the mall’s ability to evolve and meet the community’s needs positioned it well for continued success in the retail landscape.